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'I'm really proud': Teens assist cancer research with basketball tournament

Young athletes from western Canada suited up in pink to play basketball and raise thousand of dollars for cancer research at the Centurion Classic at Riverbend Junior High School Feb. 3 (Amanda Anderson/CTV News Edmonton) Young athletes from western Canada suited up in pink to play basketball and raise thousand of dollars for cancer research at the Centurion Classic at Riverbend Junior High School Feb. 3 (Amanda Anderson/CTV News Edmonton)
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Hundreds of young students were in Edmonton Saturday for one of the largest Junior High School basketball tournaments in Western Canada.

The 400 students are from Alberta and B.C. and played 42 games in three days for the 13th annual Centurion Classic.

"[It's] a tournament that attracts pretty good basketball players and good basketball programs," said Riverbend Junior High assistant principal Fraser Holt.

"The tournament's just great overall," said Riverbend student Hayden Deandrade-Spronk.

Riverbend Junior High hosts the tournament and has been using it to fundraise for the Canadian Cancer Society. It's why many players were tipping off in pink.

"The motto for our tournament is 'Centurions Conquering Cancer,'" Holt said.

"When we're playing in our pink jerseys we can just be reminded of what we're playing for," said Riverbend student Tori Harve.

Harve said other students help raise cash with bottle drives, candy sales or donating themselves.

Over the past ten years, students have raised $75,000, and the school expected to add another $15,000 over the weekend.

Referee Leo Mangano donated around 6,000 pairs of pink shoelaces for the tournament, he said it's nice to see the kids lacing up for the cause.

"It tells me that the kids are engaged. The kids recognize the cause and they’re going to carry the torch forward for everybody, so I’m really proud of what they’ve done," Mangano said.

"One of the main advantages of this tournament is that it gets kids to think about something that’s bigger than themselves," Holt said. 

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